3 November 2022

MHE Statement for the Steering Committee for Human Rights in the fields of Biomedicine and Health (CD-BIO) Meeting of 2-3 November 2022

Good afternoon Madame Chair, delegates, ladies and gentlemen,


I am Kristijan Grđan, Vice-President of Mental Health Europe (MHE). Together with my respected colleagues from international disability organisations, since 2018 I have been participating in previous CD-BIO Committee meetings and have always reiterated the significance of United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in relation to mental health and in particular to coercion in mental health settings.


In support of what my colleague(s) from the European Disability Forum (EDF) and the European Network of (Ex-)Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP) said, Mental Health Europe welcomes the decision of the Committee of Ministers to suspend further work on draft Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention, instead requesting CD-BIO to draft a Recommendation on voluntary measures in mental health settings.


We are aware of the Committee of Ministers’ concern arising from the jurisprudence of the European Court on Human Rights about a number of violations of human rights in connection to coercion in mental health settings. Yet, coercion cannot be stopped by promotig further coercion.


The needs of people with mental health problems cannot be met by locking them up in institutions, but rather through a provision of community-based services that respect their will and preferences. This is why we have advocated for many years now that CD-BIO focuses its work on voluntary treatment and today we welcome steps taken forward in that direction.


We are therefore calling on the CD-BIO to accept all of our proposals regarding said draft Recommendation in order to make it aligned with the UN CRPD. Recommendation of such scope and significance would be of much help to the member states in transitioning their mental health systems.


This is also a unique opportunity for the Council of Europe to take regional leadership in respecting and promoting the human rights of people with psychosocial disabilities, the first of that kind after UN CRPD came into force.


We call on you to use this momentum to enhance human rights of European people and leave a lasting legacy in the history of the Council of Europe.


Thank you!



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